Updated Tue, Nov 29, 2011 5:04 pm
After losing in the semifinals of the MAC Tournament to the eventual conference champion Central Michigan, the Ohio volleyball team did the best they could to improve their chances of getting into the NCAA Tournament by beating 18th ranked Cincinnati on November 25. However, the Bobcats were not selected for an at-large bid, sending them home early for the first time since 2002. This year’s appearance would have been a MAC record ninth consecutive time.
However, the MAC did send four teams, conference champion Central Michigan, Ball State, Western Michigan and Northern Illinois. This is the fifth-most teams based on conference in the nation behind the Big Ten (8), Pac-12 (7), Big 12 (7), ACC (4).
Central Michigan has its work cut out for it. They draw Illinois, the overall number-three seed, in the Gainesville region. Illinois was the top-ranked team in the country at one point during the season for the first time in school history and has 20 NCAA appearances in school history. The seventh-best team in the nation beat four-time defending champion Penn State twice (3-2 and 3-0) this season.
Ball State lands in the upper bracket of the Minneapolis Regional. The Cardinals take on Louisville, which beat Ohio 3-1 in the Baymont Invitational. If BSU wins, it will face the winner of fifth overall seed Purdue & Morehead State.
WMU faces Washington in the lower bracket of the Minneapolis Regional. Washington was the national champion in 2005, the last time the tournament ended in San Antonio. Northern Illinois meets Miami (FL) in same bracket. The MAC West rivals would meet in the regional round, but they have to beat two teams that have home-court advantage to get there.
This will be the 31st NCAA Women’s Volleyball Tournament, including a 64-team field and 16 national seeds. The first and second rounds are played on campus locations, then the games move to the regional sites of Lexington, Minneapolis, Honolulu, and Gainesville. The national semifinals and the National Championship game are in San Antonio, Texas.
The tournament begins December 1 and ends on December 17.